Blarney and Cobh cancel their Patrick's Day parades

Blarney and Cobh cancel their Patrick's Day parades
Rock Ban camogie club taking part in a previous St Patrick's Day parade in Blarney. Pic: Gavin Brown

Two major suburban towns are abandoning plans for a St Patrick’s Day parade due to lack of volunteers, high costs as well as personal reasons.

Cobh and Blarney will not be hosting a parade on March 17 with both citing a lack of participation from locals and a general apathy to the celebration from locals as reasons.

Cobh organisers said they would not be putting together a parade this year predicting a loss of €5,000.

Leaving money aside, organiser Hendrick Verwey said a complete lack of volunteers coming forward to help in organising and stewarding also contributed to the decision.

“The final straw was the lack of entries which dwindled from 58 in 2012 to 26 in 2018. The parade lasted a mere 25 minutes.” According to the organisers, the effort and expense required for 25 or 100 entries are practically the same.

Participants in a previous St Patrick's Day parade in Cobh. Picture: Cillian Kelly
Participants in a previous St Patrick's Day parade in Cobh. Picture: Cillian Kelly

You need safe assembly areas, reviewing stand, PA system and MC, entertainment, the town decked out in bunting, official road closures, fundraising, extended public liability insurance and entry forms.

Mr Verwey said that €5,000 was a lot to spend on 25 minutes of entertainment and you could get a lot more bang for your buck in Cobh by putting the money to better use.

“It is disheartening, but it is not value for money. We need roughly 30 Stewarts for road closures and they are not forthcoming.” Getting entries for the parade was also a lost cause according to Mr Verwey. “We went to businesses last week inviting them to take part in the parade and we were looked at as if we had two heads.” Councillor Kevin Conway has been organising the Blarney Paddy’s Day parade for the past nine years and said he was sad to not be working on one for 2019.

Mr Conway said that at present while receiving treatment for cancer, he was not in a position to take on the challenge of organising a parade.

“I haven’t been well and I had a fall a few weeks ago. I would have loved to do it. I had hoped against hope I was able to do it, but after weighing up the situation and looking at it from a safety aspect, we did not have the required manpower to organise it.

“There is a lot of behind the scenes work in organising the parade and we are just hoping now to recruit new people and work on something for next year.”

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